Securing justice after someone else's selfish decision left you injured

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Belleville, IL

Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers in Belleville, IL. If a reckless drunk driver harmed you or someone you care about, call the Belleville, IL drunk driving accident lawyers immediately at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a free case evaluation. We serve the injured and vulnerable in Belleville and throughout Illinois by defending their rights.

You can do everything right to protect yourself and your loved ones, but irresponsible drivers can still cause unfathomable devastation. Whether you were on your way home for your in-laws or just running errands, your life was immediately upended when you did nothing wrong. The Belleville, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law have devoted their careers to helping people like you get peace and the best possible compensation when they may be feeling like no one could help them. We know the medical bills are piling up, you you cannot earn a living right now and your life is not the same as it in the not-too-distance past. This burden is not yours to bear alone. With the compassions, expertise and unshakable legal representation of our drunk driving accident lawyers, this too shall pass.

In our more than 30 years of experience, we have won over $175 million in verdicts and settlements that the vulnerable in Belleville and throughout Illinois and Missouri were owed. Talking to us is free, and we do not charge any fees until you get the best possible compensation you deserve.

If you were harmed by an irresponsible drunk driver, see how much your claim may be worth by utilizing our free personal injury calculator.

Southern Illinois

Southern Illinois

521 W. Main Street
Suite 201 O
Belleville, IL 62220

Phone: (618) 500-4878

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What Can Belleville, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers Do for My Claim?

Law enforcement will likely do everything they can to convict a drunk driver criminally. However, only a personal injury lawyer can get you a financial recovery for all of your damages. Knowledgeable, experienced and relentless drunk driving accident lawyers can ensure you get the best possible financial recovery by:

At Burger Law, we know auto accident claims and how to stand up to bullies.

Do I Need Belleville, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers for My Claim?

That depends on the specifics of your case, and if you have never had to hire an attorney before it may be difficult to gauge when to hire a personal injury lawyer. If the driver is taking responsibility for his actions and your injuries are minor and do not require much medical treatment, a lawyer likely will not be able to add much value to your claim. However, there are many situations in which a drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to significantly add value to your claim:

  • There is a dispute about liability. Drunk drivers who injure people will probably be prosecuted, and may avoid communicating with you and the insurance company in order to not face fines, a suspended license and possibly jail time. While drunk driving charges can sometimes be dropped or reduced, you can still sue a drunk driver if they were found not guilty on state charges. Experienced drunk driving accident lawyers will know how to utilize their investigative and litigation skills in order to prove that the defendant were drunk and injured you.
  • The insurance company refuses to offer a full settlement. Ideally insurance companies would realize their duty when one of their policyholders injures you in a drunk driving accident, an insurance adjusters real job is to save the company money, not fairly compensate you. Even in the event that the driver is willing to be held accountable, the insurance company might try to say that your injuries are the result of other trauma or that they do not have to pay for lost wages because you had paid time off available. Those are all lies, and an accomplished drunk driving accident lawyer will be able to combat those deceitful tactics and get you the money you are owed.
  • There are multiple parties at fault. While a drunk driver is obviously to blame, other entities may bear partial responsibility, such as a friend of the driver who knowingly lent them the vehicle while drunk. Drunk driving accident lawyers will perform a detailed investigation and identify anyone who bears responsibility for the accident. Finding other liable parties is crucial when the policy limits are not sufficient to pay for the full scope of your injuries.
  • Your injuries need extensive medical treatment. The more grave your injuries the more medical treatment you will need, which makes calculating the full value of your damages more challenging, and makes it more likely the insurance company will try to claim they do not have to pay for all of your medical expenses. Tenacious and compassionate drunk driving accident lawyers will not only ensure you receive the entirety of your damages, but we will help you receive all of the appropriate medical care.

At Burger Law, we answer all of your questions for free. Contact us now at (314) 500-HURT to talk for a candid conversation with a drunk driving accident lawyer experienced with Illinois laws who will be honest with you about whether you need an attorney to get the best results in your case.

Missouri Drunk Driving Accident Statistics

Seeing how many people choose to drink and drive can be pretty sobering. Every day 28 people are killed in accidents caused by drunk drivers, or about one death every 52 minutes. While drunk driving accidents and deaths have consistently been on the decline in the last four decades, drunk drivers still account for almost a third of total traffic fatalities as of 2018. While safe driving campaigns and harsh punishments for drunk driving have definitely done wonders for reducing crashes, injuries and deaths, some careless Belleville, IL residents still choose to put others at risk while not understanding or not caring about the potential consequences of their actions. If you are injured as a result, you are owed a full financial recovery and the reckless driver needs to pay for what they did. The Belleville, IL drunk driving accident lawyers at Burger Law will make sure both of those things come true.

The Illinois 2020 Crash Facts found that 19.7 percent of the 1,088 accidents that caused fatalities in the state involved alcohol. Of 448 deceased drivers who were tested for alcohol, 37.1 percent tested positive.

Alcohol's Impact on Driving Abilities | Belleville, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers

While the legal limit for alcohol consumption before driving is .08 percent blood alcohol concentration, a level of even .02 percent is sufficient to substantially hinder someone's abilities behind the wheel. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration the body undergoes a decline in visual functions, inability to perform two tasks simultaneously, an altered mood and loss of judgment. At .05 percent - reached after roughly three drinks - a motorist suffers from lowered coordination, inability to trace moving objects, challenges using the steering wheel and a slower response to unexpected things on the road. It is vital to exercise great caution and let someone else take the wheel if you have been drinking. Unfortunately, sometimes you can follow all the rules ourselves and still experience the horrible and unfair consequences of a thoughtless Belleville, IL motorist disregarding your safety, driving drunk and injuring you or someone you love. Just knowing that the person who hurt you will face harsh consequences in a criminal case is not enough. Trust in the savvy and aggressive Belleville, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger law to to secure the financial settlement you and your family need and are owed. Call Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT to go over your case and start on the road to recovery.

Drunk Driving Laws in Belleville and Illinois

Under to 625 ILCS 5/11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a Class A Misdemeanor. However, a drunk driving becomes "aggravated driving under the influence" and a Class 4 Felony if:

  • It is a third or subsequent violation
  • The driver caused a motor vehicle accident that resulted in great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to another
  • The driver caused an accident in a school zone that resulted in bodily harm

Other instances in which the class of felony increases are:

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How Do You Prove a Drunk Driving Accident Claim in Belleville, IL?

There are five elements needed in order to prove negligence in a personal injury claim:

  1. Duty of Care That the defendant had a responsibility to avoid harming you.
  2. Breach of Duty That the defendant did not act in a way that kept you safe.
  3. Cause in Fact That the accident led to your injuries.
  4. Proximate Cause That the driver's breach of duty was the direct cause of the accident.
  5. Damages That the negligence was the reason you sustained a loss, such as economic damages like medical bills as well as mental anguish. In personal injury claims you can only recover noneconomic damages if there were associated economic damages.

There are two aspects that make drunk driving accident lawsuits different from the majority of personal injury claims. Firstly, 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 dictates that motorists are to "exercise due care to avoid colliding" with other cars, pedestrians and bicyclists. Meaning a driver automatically owed you a duty of care. Secondly, the legal theory of negligence per se stipulates that anyone who violates a state statute is negligent as a matter of law. Therefore, in drunk driving cases you only need to show that the driver was drunk in order to prove duty of care and breach of duty. All your drunk driving accident lawyers will need to prove at that point is that the accident caused your injuries and that you incurred losses as a result.

While it may seem like that makes a drunk driving case a slam-dunk, drunk drivers often do not want to be held accountable and their insurance companies do what they can to help their bottom line. That is why it is imperative to have dedicated and experienced Belleville, IL drunk driving accident lawyers to stand up to bullies and get the best results in your claim.

Are Any Third Parties Liable for My Drunk Driving Accident Injuries in Belleville, IL?

It is important to find all liable parties, especially if the driver has policy limits that do not fully compensate you for your damages. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be able to make a claim against:

A Bar, Restaurant or Social Host

Many states have what is known as a dram shop rule, under which you may be able sue a bar or restaurant after a drunk driving accident if you sustained damages. Illinois' dram shop laws are specified in 235 ILCS 5/6-15 of the Illinois Liquor Control Act. Illinois' dram shop law is different from many other states' in that the drunk driver did not have to be visibly drunk when they were sold alcohol in order for the vendor to be at fault. You just have to show:

  • That a vendor-patron relationship existed, which you can demonstrate with recordings, receipts or eyewitness testimony
  • That the customer they served was responsible for your injuries
  • That the the patron became inebriated because of the alcohol that was sold to him

You can only sue a social host — meaning someone who holds a private party — if the person who caused your accident was under the age of 21 and became drunk at the private residence.

Each year the Illinois Comptroller sets dram shop liability limits on how much a bar, restaurant or social host is required to pay out. As of Jan. 20, 2022, the maximum is $77,787.30 for each person incurring damages, or $95,073.37 if the accident caused loss of support or loss of society a family member's wrongful death.

The Owner of the Vehicle

If the driver of the vehicle was not the owner of the vehicle, the owner may also owe you compensation. In a negligent entrustment claim, it is negligent to permit a third person to engage in an activity which is under the control of the actor if it would not be safe to do so. In a drunk driving accident claim in Belleville, IL, that means that you must show that the owner of the vehicle purposely allowed the other driver to use their car, and that the owner knew or should have known that the driver was in no condition to operate a vehicle.

The Driver's Employer

If you were injured by someone who works as a driver, for example in a truck accident, bus accident or rideshare accident, you may be able to make a claim against the company that hired and directed the driver. Negligence that could result in liability could include:

Experienced Belleville, IL drunk driving accident lawyers like those at Burger Law have seen all of these types of claims and know how to get results in them. When you hire us, we start investigating your accident immediately to determine as many liable parties as possible.

What Compensation Can I Recover for My Belleville, IL Drunk Driving Accident Injuries?

Tort claims in the United States are based on the principle of making one whole. "Being made whole" means that when another party is to blame for your injuries, you should be paid a dollar amount commensurate to the extent of your damages. In many car accident claims, for example a simple fender-bender, that might mean paying for lost wages, follow-up doctors' appointments and the physical strain that comes with rehabilitating from a lower back injury for a relatively short period of time. In the most destructive cases, for example if you or a loved one becomes paralyzed, no financial recovery can be expected to make you whole, but the settlement or verdict should be high enough to encapsulate the terrible loss you have sustained.

Damages in a personal injury claim are broken down into three distinct groups:

  1. Economic damages — This the totaling of all the bills and lost income related to your injury. It is an unbiased dollar figure. Examples include:
    • Medical expenses — That includes any treatment the day of the injury, surgeries, prescription or over-the-counter meds, physical therapy appointments and in-home nursing. You will also be paid for any medical bills that we expect to arise in the future.
    • Lost wages and lost earning capacity — Lost wages refer to the pay you lost from not being on the job as you were healing. If your injury resulted in a long-term or permanent injury that no longer allows you to work, we will also help you receive compensation for the money you would have earned but are no longer able to.
    • Out-of-pocket expenses — If you had to pay for gas to and from medical appointments, or had to send your child to daycare because you could not look after them, you deserve to be repaid for that too.

    In the case of future medical costs or lost earning potential, drunk driving accident lawyers will refer to their network of economic experts to be able to precisely account for inflation.

  2. Noneconomic damages 735 ILCS 5/2-1115.2 defines noneconomic damages as "intangible" damages, "including but not limited to":
    • Pain and suffering refers to the physical and emotional pain you have been put through, which can include anything from difficulty turning your head to having PTSD anymore.
    • Disability for any permanent physical or cognitive difficulties the drunk driver caused.
    • Disfigurement if the accident caused permanent scarring or loss of limb.
    • Loss of consortium if you or a loved one's injuries prevent you and your spouse from the love and intimate relationships you grew accustomed to.
    • Loss of society if the injuries your loved ones can no longer share the same counsel and care that was once offered.
  3. Punitive damages These are rarely awarded in personal injury recoveries, and are intended to punish the drunk driver and discourage others from making the same mistakes. When we sue drunk drivers, we always pursue punitive damages. Not only does that maximize your financial recovery, but it also makes the insurance company nervous because punitive damages are not covered under insurance policies Under 735 ILCS 5/2-604.1, you and your drunk driving accident lawyers can seek punitive damagers in personal injury claims for especially reckless conduct. It is clear to us that anyone who drives intoxicated is demonstrating a brazen disregard your safety.

In addition, our Belleville, IL attorneys have decades of experience winning cases in:

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Belleville, IL Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers | Burger Law

We cannot stand bullies, including reckless drivers think they can do whatever they want and resistant insurance companies whose prioritize more think it is acceptable to withhold the compensation you are owed. That is why each of our Belleville-based drunk driving accident lawyers in Illinois has dedicated their education and abilities to fighting on behalf of the injured and vulnerable. We have no interest in TV or billboards. When we are not investigating and litigating cases, our drunk driving accident lawyers are constantly honing our negotiation and trial skills to get great recoveries for our clients in Belleville and throughout Illinois. We know your actions did not cause this trying time; someone else's terrible decisions did. For the highest standard of legal advocacy, call the Belleville, IL drunk driving accident lawyers of Burger Law today at (314) 500-HURT or fill out our online form.

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“Gary and his team provided us with effective, efficient and highly professional service. Gary provides sound advice and is a trustworthy and ethical attorney. I highly recommend the team!”

David and Fran Schneider

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